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Charting new opportunities & resolutions for greater trade with the Gulf

Gulf Trade: Seizing the Opportunities

February 27, 2018, 17:30 - Rue Blanche 1, Brussels 1000

IFT

Gulf Trade: Seizing the Opportunities

“If goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will” - attributed to Frédéric Bastiat

On 27 February, IFT organised a conference with the Middle East Dialogue Centre, a Brussels-based platform for discussing solutions to Middle Eastern problems. The evening began with a few words from Daniel Hannan MEP, President of IFT, on one of the issues at the heart of the conference:

“Doha is where the world trading system was born. Trade is essential to Qatar and to the region. Free trade doesn’t solve everything; but it makes almost every situation better.”

PANEL DISCUSSION

Mr Hannan went on to moderate a lively panel discussion on issues ranging from the efficacy of trade embargoes, the role of the energy sector in the Gulf region, the future of President Trump’s trade policy and the shortcomings of the current free market narrative.

Ted Bromund, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation

On the effect of the blockade on Qatar:

“Trade mostly finds a way. And trade diversion cuts new rivers that can remain vibrant after the embargo has been lifted.”

On the apparent historical successes of global sanctions on South Africa and North Korea:

“They only work if the entire world takes part. Regional sanctions will never achieve their goal.”

On the current US administration’s trade policy:

“We pressure the administration every day in favour of free trade… Economic need for free trade should win out against any protectionist leanings of the administration.”

Prof Samuele Furfari, Université Libre de Bruxelles, advisor to DG Energy, European Commission

“Energy is the blood of our economy and trade in energy is becoming more and more open and dynamic.”

“In time we will see more fragmentation within OPEC, which could jeopardise Middle East unity.”

On the importance of investing in renewable energy technologies:

“The biggest mistake in energy policy is to confuse electricity with energy.”

Ulrike Trebesius, German MEP

“The German Chambers of Commerce would like to see further steps towards trade liberalisation with more markets around the world, and considers the EU too slow to act on this.”

“EU sanctions on Russia currently aren’t working well. Embargoes can only ever be effective in the short term.”

“In the end, free trade will be a decision for the younger generation to make, using the new technologies at their disposal.”

Daniele Capezzone, Member of the Italian Parliament, Director of New Direction Italia

“We need to work on a new narrative about the success of open markets and free trade… We are using analogue arguments in a digital world.”

“After Brexit the UK can play a bigger role as an economic and geopolitical partner in the Gulf.”

On trade embargoes:

“There are too often humanitarian consequences - hitting ordinary people is not a good idea.”

KEYNOTE SPEECH: The effect of the blockade on the Qatar economy

Saud Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah, Executive Director, Economic Polices & Research, Ministry of Economy & Commerce, Qatar

Since the blockade:

  • Qatar’s GDP growth has exceeded forecasts by 0.2%
  • Inflation has remained relatively low at 2.6%
  • Number of ships visiting Qatar ports up more than threefold
  • Number of containers handled at Hamad port up more than threefold
  • Qatar ranked as the safest business environment in the world in the 2017-18 Global Competitiveness Rankings
  • Over 10,000 new companies registered in Qatar
  • Qatar Airways opened up 25 new flight destinations
  • Qatar’s gas exports to UAE remain unchanged
  • 8 major companies moved from the UAE to Qatar


DINNER SPEECHES

H.E. Abdulrahman Al-Khulaifi, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Brussels, the EU and NATO

“Don’t get me wrong, Qatar does not welcome this blockade, which has severe humanitarian implications, separating entire families, keeping loved ones apart from each other and preventing students from attending their schools.

We refuse, however, to simply sit down and accept the harm that is inflicted on us. Instead, we see the blockade as a catalyst, an opportunity for a new way of thinking and for venturing into unexplored and highly promising commercial and diplomatic opportunities.”

Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy, Turkey

“This process [following the blockade] strengthened cooperation between Turkey and Qatar at all levels. This partnership is reflected especially in our bilateral economic relations:

In the period of June-December 2017, Turkey’s exports to Qatar doubled compared to the previous year. The volume of trade between Turkey and Qatar was 1.3 billion dollars in 2017.

I would like to mention the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) between Turkey and Qatar: we have finalised the agreement and will sign it as soon as possible.”

Lolwah Alkhater, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar

“The main takeaway from today’s discussion, I would say, is that Qatar is kind of better off now with the blockade. Does this mean we’re satisfied with the current conditions in our region? No, we’re not.”

“For us in Qatar today, we design our policies as if this blockade is continuing forever. That’s why we’re strengthening our bilateral agreements with all countries. His Highness the Emir is the only leader in the GCC that has visited East Africa - just to give you one example.”

Gulf Trade: Seizing the Opportunities

LOCATION

​Middle East Dialogue Centre

Rue Blanche 1, 1000, Brussels



Gulf Trade: Seizing the Opportunities

SPEAKERS

Lolwah Alkhater

Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar

Ted Bromund

Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, USA

Fatih Metin

Deputy Minister of Economy, Turkey

Prof Samuele Fufari

Professor, ULB; Advisor to DG Energy, European Commission

Ulrike Trebesius

Member of the European Parliament, Germany

Saud Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah

Executive Director, Economic Polices & Research, Ministry of Economy & Commerce, Qatar

Daniele Capezzone

Member of Italian Parliament, Director of New Direction Italia

H.E. Abdulrahman Al-Khulaifi

Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Brussels, the EU and NATO

Daniel Hannan

IFT President, Member of the European Parliament, UK



Gulf Trade: Seizing the Opportunities

AGENDA

Tuesday, February 27th
5:30-6pm

Registration & Welcome

6-7pm

Panel discussion:
Daniel Hannan MEP (Moderator)
Ulrike Trebesius MEP
Daniele Capezzone MP
Ted Bromund
Dr Samuele Fufari

7-7:30pm

Q&A

7:30-7:45pm

Keynote speech:
Saud Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah, Executive Director, Economic Polices & Research, Ministry of Economy & Commerce, Qatar

8-10pm

Supper
with keynote speeches from:
Hon. Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy, Turkey
Hon. Lolwah Alkhater, Spokesperson, Qatar Foreign Ministry

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